GUILFORD COUNTY — Republican Party leader Troy Lawson, the first Black chairman of the Guilford County GOP and a recent candidate for county commissioner, died Monday.

Current Guilford County Republican Party Chairman David Gleeson said Lawson was undergoing surgery when he died from complications. Lawson had an ongoing heart condition, Gleeson told The High Point Enterprise.

“As I understand it, he went into surgery this (Monday) morning and did not survive the surgery,” Gleeson said.

Lawson, who lived in Greensboro, died a month after completing a campaign for the District 5 seat on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. Lawson lost to Democrat Carly Cooke in the district covering parts of Greensboro and northern Guilford County.

“I am deeply saddened to hear this news,” Cooke told The Enterprise. “My heart goes out to his family and friends as they process this unexpected loss. He clearly cared deeply about our community and will be missed by many.”

Gleeson said Lawson’s death was a shock to friends and associates in the party and the community.

“Troy did a good job as chairman and stepped forward several times to take on other roles,” he told The Enterprise. “He was a good friend to me and a lot of people.”

U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, R-6th, said Lawson reflected strong values and faith.

“Troy was a good friend and a tireless servant for our community,” the congressman said. “Please keep Troy’s wife, Stephanie, and their children in our prayers.”

Lawson served as chairman of the Guilford County Republican Party from 2017-19.

Lawson’s professional background focused on serving as a director of admissions for a series of for-profit schools and as executive director for a nonprofit in Maryland. He also worked as a sales consultant.

pjohnson@hpenews.com | 336-888-3528 | @HPEpaul

pjohnson@hpenews.com | 336-888-3528 | @HPEpaul